No Pumps for You Sis

I love summertime. School is out, daylight hours are longer, folks relax, take vacations and all of those good things. As an adult the same good feelings come to mind albeit a bit differently. School is out, so the traffic is better, I’m less ragey because there is no traffic and I can get off the treadmill and head outside in my neighborhood or a park to walk. I mean, I get all Bart Scott about the prospects of watching squirrels, hearing birds chirp and seeing the spring and summer color. This spring though, a funny (not funny) thing happened that cancelled my summertime fun. Ye olde broad got injured and ooh chile the aggravation of it all.

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Now I have some level of vanity, I get it from my daddy ūüėČ, and some level of toughness from my mama, so even after it occurred, not only did I continue to wear my fave pumps and other non-supportive type shoes, I continued walking, until the pain became a little too much to bear so I finally got an x-ray, that showed nothing. This was followed by more pain and finally a trip to the podiatrist. Boy did I pick the right one.
Dr. M. was straight no chaser. She said that there would be no negotiations as I had an ankle sprain on the right and tendonitis in the left foot. The orders? No exercising with the exception of a rower which I do not own nor have access to, RICE, and wearing the hideousness below.

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Now any readers who’ve followed this blog over the years is familiar with the aches and pains my past. At the time of the injury, I was already on the way to be mummified because I was wearing some combination of all the contraptions below. My joints just weren’t having it from the weight I’d put on. The ankle/foot thing was just another bump in the road… maybe.

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From June through August I wore the ankle braces and followed a slow incorporation of exercise back into my life per doctors orders. Mid August I went home to see my mama for her birthday and by the time I got back to the durty I was FREEEEEE from those braces. Having been confined to indoors all summer, y’all know I couldn’t wait (again). The thing is, I should have.
I walked outside 3 days in a row the week I came back in town. The third day the pain started. By September I’m emailing the doctor whining and she advised me to put the braces back on and to get an MRI. I wore the braces for about 5 days and stopped. This was yet another mistake.
My follow-up showed the nastiness I did not want to see, a contusion, inflammation and arthritis. The issue was the former two, note the latter. I asked what’s next? She tried to be easy but kept it real. A boot, crutches and another contraption to even my gait, RICE, NSAIDS and the same no-exercise regimen except for the pool or a rower.


No lie kids, ye olde broad was depressed behind this s#*t even though it is all temporary. As of this writing, I’m feeling alright. So here’s some parting wisdom for fellow tough guys and hard heads out there. Listen to your body. If something isn’t right don’t try to push through it. Stop and head to a physician if you have the means to do so and let her/him diagnose you and do what they tell you to do. Trust me, the older you get, the longer it takes to recover and baybay you wants noooooo parts of this.

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Until next time, see you at physical therapy, which is likely my next stop.

Photos: MsThorns

Wrap It Up

Welcome to 2016, I hope that your year thus far is as happy as it was when the clock struck 12 on January 1. After the indulgences of the holidays and maybe a respite from your fitness program you’re probably rip roaring to go and take off what you¬†might have put on during the the festivities. Perhaps you did stay on track, didn’t pig out and stuck to your fitness program, if so good for you send some of that energy my way. I happen to be in the former group, having enjoyed plenty of food and wine between Thanksgiving and TODAY quite frankly I am now I’m ready to get it together. ¬†However, I know who I am and jumping right into the eat right thing isn’t happening so I’m getting started by getting ye olde body moving again. The thing is, it seems that this body requires quite a bit more assistance than it used to. So, ladies and gentleman, I’d like to introduce you to the Abominable¬†Exercise Woman.

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Rocking the latest in hurting joint fashions Abominable Exercise Woman models elbow sleeves to prevent the recurrence of tennis elbow and to aid with proper alignment in all those pushups and chaturangas, a knee brace for the arthritic knee and wrist wraps to prevent trauma that can cause the recurrence of the scary sounding but mostly harmless, ganglion cyst. ¬†The injuries, the impending big 50 and this perimenopause/hormonal poundage got a sista HURTIN! However, I shall press on. ¬†Two weeks in and I have actually had some improvement in my back, it’s not nearly as stiff and achy in the morning as previously experienced, so I’ll wrap up if that’s going to reduce the aches and pains. Hopefully I can lose some of this fine attire as my fitness level increases.

Now as always I ask, what about you? What wraps, contraptions, potions and concoctions do you use in order to work out? Do you use them all the time or only when you’re hurting? Let me know in the comments, on Twitter or on Google+. ¬†Until next time see you in the living room, where I’ll be all wrapped up, but moving somehow.
Photos: MsThorns
Video: The Fabulous Thunderbirds

You’re Tingling Baby

I was at the end of my rope by the time I said this. I was at Kaiser again, getting yet another injury diagnosis. This is how it all went down.

A few weeks before that visit, I put my right elbow down on the armrest of my chair at work and came right off of it with an OWWWW! I thought maybe I hit something funny but it wasn’t a funny bone type feeling it was more like a knife. From that day on I couldn’t put that elbow down on anything. The Good Doctor (me) self-diagnosed it as “I must lean on that elbow too much, it will stop.” Thing is it didn’t stop. The weekend before the trip to the doctor I was washing dishes and started getting this tingling feeling in my right forearm and was like what is this? It was tingling after the dishes were complete, it was tingling the next morning then all hell broke lose in the Walmart parking lot.

I’m slinging bags in the trunk, closed it and my purse slipped off my right shoulder, I hoisted it back up my jacked grazed my elbow and I screamed. This was no tingling this a feeling like hot knives being stabbed right in my elbow, just from my JACKET grazing it. I knew I was in trouble and went to the doctor.

Doctor: weren’t you just in here a month ago? Didn’t I tell you…
Me: yeah that’s (previous ailment) okay it’s this elbow (describes pain, doctor shakes head, does a few strength tests, gives proper side-eye and look of disapproval)
Doctor: you have tennis elbow
Me: what??? I don’t play tennis.
Doctor: it doesn’t come just from playing tennis

She went on to describe how repetitive motion, poor form or overuse can cause it. She said “you’re doing to much, you cannot do EVERYTHING at the same time, you have to split it up” along with more side-eye and “you and your activities”. My regiment at the time was doing total body strength training two days a week , yoga every day, body weight training once a week and cardio. All but the cardio involved lifting and pushing weights or buy weight basically every day. . So yeah I was the captain of team DOING TOO MUCH. As for the remainder of the exam…

Doctor: you need to take a month off you can’t do anything on your hands
Me: what????? Well can I do this? (demos chaturanga on the exam table)
Doctor: NOOOOOOO! You can do cardio, legs and abs and anything that doesn’t involve you lifting or pushing anything with your arms. I was like:

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For one month there would be no P2180048_1024 and definitely no P2190288_1024.

These last two weeks I have walked sparingly, drowned my sorrows in 20150502_203727¬†and watched my belly shoot out so far that I can no longer see my toes without bending over. Another ongoing health issue escalated that landed me at the doctor again last week and by that time it was all too much for my head to bear. Restarting my yoga practice, no hands style has helped my mental situation. I have done one down dog per day the last few days, but that’s it as far has any pressure on my hands. Needless to say, a lot’s been going on.

I made light of the tingling sensation but it was a signal that stuff was wrong. Maybe you have had a sensation, an ache or a pain that lingered a little too long and have tried to ignore it. Don’t. The faster you high-tail it to a medical professional, the faster you can rehab and get back to your fitness pursuits.

Until next time see you at the gym where I will not be tingling but will be…

Photos: MsThorns; Video: LL Cool J

The Foot of Paranoia

Yoga was great. Yin Yoga to be exact which is crazy relaxing and rids your mind of all foolishness. ¬†At home popcorn, beer and football were on tap for a different type of relaxation, which was also good. ¬†I enjoyed it until I got sleepy and went to bed.¬† The call of nature came some time in the wee hours of the morning.¬† While exiting the bed I felt the sheet scrape my big toe and last time I checked, sheets don’t scrape. ¬†At any rate in my sleepy haze I took a look at the toe and saw (as well as one can at 3:00 am) a cut. I wasn’t about to do anything about it though.¬†
 
In the morning I got a better look, a cut for sure maybe from some glass?? Who knew. I cleaned it, bandaged it and kept it moving to work, then to physical therapy.¬† 20140829_153753Came home un-bandaged the toe to take another look. ¬†It didn’t look scary just red from walking on it. I re-bandaged it and started a little cleaning when:
 
paranoia began to set in.
 
As I moved more I was FEELING that toe. I was advised to take no chances and off to Kaiser I went.
 
“Hi, my name is Michelle and I’m a paranoid diabetic. ¬†I have a cut on my big toe and I’m worried about it.” The young lady checked me in and I had a seat. The waiting room filled up mostly with limping folks. I guess everyone twists, cuts and breaks stuff for the weekend. I was finally called back at 6:09 pm bad nerves, cut toe and all.
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The doctor was cool with a cute sense of humor. He said it was just a cut but ordered an x-ray to make sure nothing was stuck in the toe (negative). I was dismissed with wound care instructions and some fashionable footwear.
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I don’t mess around with my feet. They’re the only ones I’ve got. For a diabetic, wounds that don’t heal can end in amputation. That’s just a fact for us so I always err on the side of caution and watch my feet like a hawk and will continue to do so. So far so good, the toe is looking fine.
 
For all my diabetic readers and those who love us, please take care of your/our feet. Examine them yourself regularly, get a diabetic foot exam annually and if you ever see anything unusual, see your doctor immediately.
 
Until next time hopefully, see you at the gym.
 
By the way…
 
The physical therapist released me to ALL activities on Friday. But there’s this toe thingūüėē.
 
And…
 
I’m thankful for my yoga practice. I have to do a sort of combination pigeon/tree pose to care for the toe ūüėĀ
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Photos: MsThorns

Listen Up Hard Heads

I will be heading back to Kaiser for the 3rd time in as many weeks tomorrow.  Some of these trips could have been avoided.  A look at my behavior over the last year or so tells the story.

  • In the last year there’s been at least three times when physicians have said stop running , heal completely, then return at a slow pace. What I did? Stop running until I felt good and went right back to full steam ahead.
  • There have been at least two physicians that have said lose 10 pounds. I would lose 5 get some good labs and start eating whatever I wanted to again accompanied by wine of course.
  • Two times physicians have instructed me to perform stretching and strengthening exercises for the back, legs and feet. Again once the pain was gone I resumed my usual level of activity which involves pounding the treadmill and pavement and making the move from the Barbie weights to the big girl weights the prescribed exercises are filed away in a folder.
Back in the day my mom and all the old folks use to say “a hard head makes for a soft a**”. Well they were right, I have spasming butt cheek to prove it.

I can’t afford to be hard-headed anymore. I’m older, diabetic and in¬† perimenopause. I have learned, the hard way I suppose that the body will always tell you when something is wrong. Even though society says push through it, grind it out or at this one gym I used to go to, “go ahead and throw up” this is something I can no longer do. Listen, comply and modify is my new mantra. It’s what I have to do to maintain a decent quality of life as I age.¬† As of this writing I am forbidden to perform:

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I have stuck to what the doctors ordered, pending additional instructions from my visit tomorrow and follow up with sports medicine.

I know I’m not the only hard head out here. I’d love to hear your hard head stories, what made you stop being hard headed and the results of the change.¬† If you care to share please do so in the comments, on¬† Google+ or Twitter.

To all those who have read my lamentations and given suggestions on how to get better, thank you!

Photos: MsThorns

He Dropped a Bomb On Me

I last ran on March 17 and had pain in my right leg so bad I had to shut it down.  As such I decided to start at the bottom to determine what is the source/contributing factor/problem that is keeping me off the trail and the treadmill.  First stop, the podiatrist.  I figured that I was finally paying the piper for 30 years of running with these flat feet of mine.  The diagnosis was not at ALL what I expected but if you run, it is a sad sorry badge of honor/horror to earn. This is how it went down.

Me: Look, I have flat feet, pain in my hip,  knee, back and sometimes leg. Are my flat feet the problem?
Him: Maybe. Do your feet ever hurt?
Me: Sometimes. ¬†They hurt when I’m not even on them. ¬†In fact I’ve wrapped my feet at night to ease the pain so I can sleep.

So the doctor starts poking around in the area of where my arch is supposed to be.

Him: Does that hurt?
Me: It wasn’t until you started poking around.

Then he dropped the P bomb on me.

“You’ve got plantar¬†fasciiatis” I’m like WHAT????? I say to him, I thought that the pain from it was felt in the heel and he says “it is for the majority of people but a small percentage of people, particularly those with flat feet feel it pain in the arch”. There was some minor wailing and gnashing of teeth with that diagnosis and prescription — no running, inserts all day, foot and achilles stretching, NSAIDs and ice on the bottom of my feet. ¬†When he showed me those inserts I told him flat-out, “dude you are messing with my Diva, I have NO shoes other than gym shoes that those will fit.”

What is plantar fasciiatis?
Plantar fasciitis (PLAN-tur fas-e-I-tis) is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It involves pain and inflammation of a thick band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes.

Plantar fasciitis commonly causes stabbing pain that usually occurs with your very first steps in the morning. Once your foot limbers up, the pain of plantar fasciitis normally decreases, but it may return after long periods of standing or after getting up from a seated position.

Plantar fasciitis is particularly common in runners. In addition, people who are overweight and those who wear shoes with inadequate support are at risk of plantar fasciitis. (Mayo Clinic).

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The paragraph above makes me a winner (read loser)¬† in the fasciitis sweepstakes as I meet all of the criteria. I’ve had about a week to sulk and rebel and have settled into the realization that compliance is necessary in order to walk let alone run without pain after the fact. The stretching hasn’t been a problem, the inserts feel pretty good in gym shoes and I’ve decided to try the half-soles for dress shoes. However let me be really clear ice on the bottom of one’s feet is NOT the business, but I’m doing it.

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So I ask you runners, sportsmen and gymrats out there, have you ever had plantar fasciitis? How did you treat it. and how long was your recovery. Let me know in the comments on Twitter or on Google+.

Until next time see you at the gym, I can still lift ūüôā

Photos: Mayo Clinic, MsThorns

 

It’s Never Too Late

It was a combination of things that got me to this point. The nagging knee injury, the weather, my bucket list and age all drove me to the decision to comply. Four years ago theorthopedist said I needed to find something else to do and to scale back the running. I ignored that advice and ran even more up until last year. During one of those injurytimeouts I signed up for a class. Though nervous at the onset I completed the class without difficulty. Having obtained the acquired skills I still wasn’t satisfied with my mechanics. I took another class at a different site, learned a few more things and was recommended for the next level.

At age 47 I learned how to swim.

Why didn’t I learn before? Didn’t feel the need. Though it was mandatory in high school non-swimmers only had to float and kick the width of the pool with held breath to pass. I passed and proceeded to spend the rest of my days sunbathing by the pool. Until now.

I was always scared of deep water and didn’t understand the whole breathing thing. I still don’t have it down and deep water isn’t my preferred hang out place but I hope it will be soon because I actually quite love the water. So the work continues.

You see you can teach an old broad new tricks.  You too can try something new for your fitness program if you just let go of all the stuff, get clearance from your physician and jump in, the water is just fine even 12 feet of it. One guy made it fine for me, my instructor Michael Mooney at West Gwinnett Park and Aquatic Center. He is patient, pushy and funny all at the same time which made for an exceptional instructional experience.  Thanks Michael.

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Until next time, see you at the pool where you’ll see me continuing to practice this whole turn your body and breathe thing while singing “Psychoalphadiscobetabioaquadoloop”.

Photo: MsThorns
Lyric: Parliament, “Aqua Boogie“, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell writers from the album Motor Booty Affair.

Injury Report – Ridiculous

The latest injury news for the old broad is lumbar radiculopathy.¬† When I received the diagnosis I couldn’t help but think how close the word was to “ridiculous” and told the doctor as much. ¬†This is a back problem, inflammation aggravating a nerve which manifested itself as a pain in the arse, hamstring and foot. This is not new and is something I’ve dealt with off and on for about 30 years.¬† In the past the condition has been treated by:

  • steroid injections which failed at relieving the back pain but ended up improving my asthma symptoms
  • chiropractic manipulation – which helped tremendously but required weekly visits that were not covered by insurance
  • major weight loss – which eliminated the chronic pain
The doctor didn’t ask me what I’d been doing but I told him about my exercise regimen which is what I assumed caused this latest flare-up. ¬†To relieve the symptoms the doctor prescribed:
  • oral steroids (which are making me bats#$% crazy)
  • rest and,¬†wait for it …
  • losing 10 pounds as my current level of exertion may be too much at my current weight

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Thus far I’ve taken the pills and stayed out of the gym, practiced yoga (the only exercise permissible) and have been contemplating how to address my diet in order to lose some more weight.¬† I’m not pleased but will do it, and will seek a nutritionist since I’m diabetic and ¬†exercise five days a week. ¬†In other words, I am actually complying with doctor’s orders ūüôā

I hope that none of you are dealing with any injuries during this festive season.¬† If you are, I hope you’re on the mend, complying with the prescribed treatment(s) and enjoying your family and friends.¬† On the bright side, if you’re sidelined from the gym/road/court etc, that gives you more time to spend with the folks you love.

If you have a history of back problems, I’d loved to hear about your experiences and how you’ve overcome them. ¬†Feel free to share in the comments or hit me up on Twitter or Google+.

Until next time see you somewhere, anywhere other than the doctor’s office ūüėČ

Compliance Fail

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALet me tell you something, this year has been a beast on ye olde broad’s body.

It all started with the knee, which had been an ongoing problem for the last year and finally came to a head in August. ¬†If it wasn’t the knee hurting then it was hip.¬† The sports medicine doctor called it bursitis.¬† I call it old folks hip.¬† The latest body fail? The back. I felt it coming on at the end of last week.¬† Made a wrong move and bam there it went.¬† I am almost completely upright now but a few days ago I was cross-eyed with pain.¬† What gives? My body for sure, but it’s mostly my mind, giving into temptation and this freaky competition that I have with myself.

How it all goes down
Whenever I have an injury, my healthcare provider/trainer  prescribes the following:
  1. Do not participate in X activity for # amount of time
  2. Follow X treatment plan for # amount of time
  3. After treatment is complete you may return to activity but do so gradually and build up.
  4. At the first sign of pain stop.
My compliance FAIL happens at step one. “Do not participate in X activity for # amount of time.”¬†
For example, the downtime for the knee issue was supposed to be a 1 month per the trainer (who had torn both of ACLs and knows pain).  My primary care physician said 2-3 weeks along with a treatment plan.  I did not follow the treatment, I laid off for 2 1/2 weeks and started running again, gradually and with this

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but I went back.  Only for my body two months later to say NOPE.

What have I learned?
Good habits can be difficult to form and bad habits difficult to end.¬† Starting an exercise program and staying consistent can be difficult. However once it becomes habit, stopping is not an option even though sometimes it should be, as in the case of injury.¬† Folks who worked hard to get where they are now, competitive folks and folks who just want to have a good quality of life within their own body can have difficulty with stopping, reducing or adjusting activity.¬† Swallowing the pill/complying with the doctor’s orders has been difficult for me, but the old broad is learning.¬† I’d much rather do what they tell me to do and go for the long-term, then do what I want to do in the short-term and pay for it by being laid up.

What about you? Does your mind over power your body and make you exercise when it’s probably best for you to refrain?¬† If so were you able to break out of that pattern of behavior? What did you do.¬†Let me know in the comments and until next time,

See you on the trail or the gym or…